Commissioned by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, and named after a mythical island, the Antilia tower sticks out above South Mumbai’s skyline.
Located on Altamount Road, Mumbai’s most luxurious avenue and one of the most expensive addresses worldwide, the structure looks to the naked eye, much taller than it really is. Many of its 27 floors have been built with double or even triple height, which gives the tower the virtual height of a 40-storey building.
Home to the Ambani family, (Mukesh, Nita and their three children) this decked-out skyscraper is considered the most expensive private home in the world, with construction costs estimated at more than $1 billion dollars. With opulent finishing materials that range from stunning marble floors to rare woods that bring to life exquisite dining areas, vast libraries and an entire floor dedicated to a “health spa”, which includes a gym, several swimming pools and yoga facilities, the 400,000 square foot residence requires 600 staff members to keep running smoothly. Nevertheless, it had been reported that all three kids of the Ambani family are in charge of cleaning their own rooms when at home.
The amenities of this marvel of 21st-Century India, include several floors of gardens, enclosed living areas that offer the most spectacular views of the city, a screening room with capacity for 50 guests, three floors of hanging gardens, guest suites, a ballroom (decorated with striking chandeliers that take up to 80 percent of the ceiling), an ice room infused with man-made snow flurries, and a Hindu room for praying.
With as many as six underground levels of parking, the Ambani family can now keep their 168-vehicle fleet all in one place. The tower also boasts three helipads, just in case guests prefer to come in by air and avoid the infamous Mumbai traffic. There are also various floors dedicated to the kitchen, where vegetarian meals are meticulously cooked for the family and their guests. The lobby alone has nine elevators: two for parking areas, three for the guest suites, two for service, and two more for the exclusive use of the family.
The architecture of this palatial building has caused controversy among some experts, who have compared it to an “unstable pile of books”. In the interior, the key design elements are a combination of traditional Indian decoration and modern Western elements, with marble and mother of pearl as the main finishing materials. The lotus flower and the sun served as inspiration for the building’s décor.
Nita Ambani, wife of the Indian tycoon, describes her house as “a modern home with an Indian heart”. The family’s parlors are on the top floors, because “I wanted the sunlight…, so it’s an elevated house on top of a garden”, said Nita Ambani. ■